The COVID era has been a time of staring down deep and scary unknowns. Often it feels like we’re flying blind, doing the best we can to stay together and safe, with too little information and too much stress. That goes for all things, including our Women in Black efforts to remember the homeless dead with honor and dignity.
Grief in our community—and word-of-mouth information about possible-or-presumed-homeless deaths—keeps piling up. Our partners at the King County Medical Examiners Office and Health Care for the Homeless–for whom we have abiding respect and love–are overwhelmed with COVID work. They’ve also just converted their database to a new system that cannot—yet—easily track and produce information about presumed-homeless deaths, as they’ve done for the past two decades.
WHEEL/Women in Black have tracked many potential “cases” for vigils we’d thought we’d be able to verify with an early-August, updated list of Presumed-Homeless Deaths from the MEs. We now understand that that list will be a while in coming to us.
We cannot wait to stand, to bear witness to our community’s struggles and losses. Therefore, we’ll facilitate a Women in Black vigil on the steps of Seattle City Hall from noon to 1 PM next Wednesday. We’ll be standing for several people by name, whose stories, housing status and death circumstances we don’t fully know. Some of this information came from the Medical Examiners, but their information remains incomplete for now. Some of the information/names came from news reports. Some came from friends.
While we feel making assumptions about peoples’ status or story based on appearance, or with incomplete information, is wrong, the women of WHEEL decided to stand this vigil because of the humanity of these people, because it is possible (if not likely) they were unhoused at the time of their deaths (or died by violence), and because we hope by naming them people who knew them and their death circumstances will come forward so that we can know their stories, and remember them as whole human beings, and loved.
We’ll stand vigil for:
**Terry Caver, 57, who was shot to death by Seattle Police Officers on the waterfront on May 19th. His name was just released by the MEs; there has been excellent, respectful coverage of this on C is for Crank. We’re not sure of Mr Caver’s housing status at the time of his death, but he had experienced many struggles including homelessness. He was loved! https://thecisforcrank.com/2020/08/14/terry-j-caver-the-black-man-killed-by-spd-officers-in-may-as-remembered-by-his-family/
**Kevin Siciliano, 35, who was shot to death in the U District on 7/15. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/seattle-man-charged-with-manslaughter-accused-of-fatally-shooting-man-in-u-district-parking-lot/ We’re not sure of his housing status at the time of his death; he had experienced many struggles including homelessness in his lifetime.
**Paige Conca, whose death we learned of from the Facing Homelessness Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3384674728244413&id=172003812844870
**Bryan Bracken, likely the “Fox” Bracken we knew and loved at SHARE and WHEEL, who died at 211 Dexter Avenue North on 7/31; cause unknown.
**Monty Hakola, died on 8/3 at 1424 Broadway; cause unknown.
**Christy Hughes, died on 8/4 at NW Dock Place and Leary Avenue NW, cause unknown.
**Marvin “Chip” Shreve, died on 8/4, at 2700 block of NE 195th St, cause unknown.
**Daniel Garl, died on 8/5 at unknown location, cause unknown.
**James Salmon, died on 8/11 at 200 block of E Sixth St—location specifics and cause unknown.
**Robert Kepl, died on 8/8 at unknown location, cause unknown.
And these, whose housing status we do not know. In two cases we don’t know the names either:
**Man shot and killed in Pioneer Square, 2nd/S Washington on 7/18 https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/seattle-police-investigate-fatal-shooting-in-pioneer-square/
**Man shot and killed at 23rd/E Cherry on 7/20 https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2020/07/23rd-and-cherry-shooting-sends-multiple-victims-to-hospital/
**Anthony Parker, 49. shot and killed at motel at 82nd/Aurora on 7/20 https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/kent-man-charged-with-murder-in-connection-with-fatal-shooting-at-seattle-motel/
We invite you to stand with us in solidarity, community and grief.
We ask those who might have knowledge of these people and these deaths to join us, so that we can honor them fully. If we receive more information before next Wednesday we’ll try to update this post.
Thank you for your support and witness.